Episodes
On our last episode of Season 2, Ian Ayres, professor of law and of professor of management at Yale University, and Frederick E. Vars, professor of law at the University of Alabama, join us to discuss their new book Weapon of Choice: Fighting Gun Violence While Respecting Gun Rights. In the book, Ayres and Vars outline decentralized and voluntary policies that can be immediately adopted at the state or federal level to prevent gun-related deaths. We discuss the benefit and the possible...
Published 04/20/21
On this week’s episode, Oona Hathaway, professor of law at Yale Law School, and Dr. Craig Jones, lecturer in political geography at Newcastle University, discuss their views on law’s role in war and national security. Professor Hathaway’s recent article, National Security Lawyering in the Post-War Era: Can Law Constrain Power?, argues that our current system lacks external constraints on executive branch national security lawyers and suggests division of powers and increased accountability...
Published 04/06/21
Professors Kate Andrias, of the University of Michigan Law, and Benjamin L. Sachs, of Harvard Law School, join us to discuss their new article, Constructing Countervailing Power: Law and Organizing in an Era of Political Inequality. They argue the law can facilitate organizing by lower-income groups and that doing so can increase their political power in this new Gilded Age. We also discuss what the politics of labor politics and labor history can tell us about the authors’...
Published 03/30/21
Professors Maggie Blackhawk and K-Sue Park join us to discuss their recent work diving into the erasure of Native people in legal scholarship, pedagogy, and doctrine. Professor Blackhawk tells us about her recent article, Federal Indian Law as Paradigm Within Public Law, which argues that Native history and federal Indian law are necessary to better understand and develop Constitutional law. Professor Park discusses her draft article, Conquest and Slavery as Foundational to Property Law,...
Published 03/23/21
Jamal Greene, Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, joins us to discuss his new book, How Rights Went Wrong: Why Our Obsession with Rights is Tearing America Apart, in which he argues that we need a new approach to adjudicating rights claims. We discuss the flaws he sees in our current system—namely his assessment that courts either offer an absolute right or total deference to legislatures, depending on the right at issue. He also proposes an alternative approach where we can take...
Published 03/16/21
Stephen Sachs and Ernest Young, professors of law at Duke University, join us for a debate on the Erie doctrine. We pit these two scholars against one another to find out whether Erie was wrongly decided. Should state courts have the “last word” on interpretations of state law? Should we limit the role of general law? Does any of this matter? Additional readings, including any referenced during the episode, are available on our website: DiggingAHolePodcast.com.
Published 03/09/21
On this week’s episode we talk to Gabriel Winant, Assistant Professor of U.S. History at the University of Chicago, about his forthcoming book, The Next Shift: The Fall of Industry and the Rise of Health Care in Rust Belt America. In it, he focuses on the political economy of Pittsburgh since World War II—specifically, how blue-collar manufacturing jobs were eventually replaced by female-dominated, yet lower-paid and less stable, positions in healthcare services. In this conversation, we...
Published 02/23/21
On this episode we speak to our colleague, Claire Priest, about her new book, Credit Nation: Property Laws and Institutions in Early America. We discuss her research into the early American laws that commodified real and personal property as well as how those laws facilitated the rise of credit markets and helped entrench slavery. We also discuss the relationship between property owners and the state as well as the formalization of property rights during this period. Additional readings,...
Published 02/16/21
We’re kicking off Season 2 by chatting with the hosts of the Strict Scrutiny podcast, Kate Shaw and Leah Litman, about the future of the Supreme Court, reform proposals, and the Court’s past and present legitimacy. Additional reading, including any referenced during the episode, are available on our website: DiggingAHolePodcast.com.
Published 02/09/21
On our last episode this season, we speak with Omar Wasow, assistant professor of politics at Princeton, about his new article that studies how 1960s Black-led protests impacted voting patterns. A key finding is that, while peaceful protests improved Democratic vote share in the 1968 election, violent protests likely led to a shift towards Republicans. We discuss the role of media in framing the protests then and today, and the moral and ethical considerations behind violent and nonviolent...
Published 12/15/20
Yale Law School professor Tracey Meares joins us to discuss the past and future of police reform, including her government and academic work in this area. We touch on what the Obama administration did and didn’t do after Ferguson. We also discuss how calls for defunding the police and prison abolition play out in the policy sphere. Additional reading, including those referenced during the episode, are available on our website: DiggingAHolePodcast.com.
Published 12/01/20
John Goldberg, professor at Harvard Law School, and Benjamin Zipursky, professor at Fordham University School of Law, join us this week to discuss their new book Recognizing Wrongs in which they outline what principles underly tort law and why tort law matters. We discuss why they think tort law is more than just “accident law” or “ regulation” or an archaic leftover from a different era of social policy.  The authors also touch on how their theory of tort law fits into constitutional law,...
Published 11/24/20
Ross Douthat, a New York Times columnist and conservative political analyst, joins us this week to unpack the election. We discuss the ongoing political realignment. We dig into the future of economic populism on the right and the left. We also debate how each party might build its future coalition, including who might win the hotly-contested neoliberal vote. Additional reading, including those referenced during the episode, are available on our website: DiggingAHolePodcast.com.
Published 11/17/20
Join us on this episode as we unpack the election with legal scholars Michael Klarman, Professor at Harvard Law School, and Amna Akbar, Professor at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. Michael’s forthcoming Harvard Law Review foreword outlines the threat President Donald Trump and the Republicans pose to democracy and how the Supreme Court has enabled them. Amna’s response article outlines what she views as the key movements of our time, including defund the police, cancel rent,...
Published 11/10/20
On this episode, we talk to Vox co-founder and noted political and economics journalist Matt Yglesias about his new book One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger. Matt argues that the U.S. should take active steps  — allowing greater immigration and adopting a suite of policies that encourage people to have children — to increase the size of the U.S. population to one billion.  Doing so, he argues, would improve the U.S. economy and allow the country to remain the most powerful...
Published 10/30/20
On this episode we discuss the legal theory of the origins of American empire. Stephen Wertheim, Deputy Director of Research and Policy at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, and Afroditi Giovanopoulou, PhD Candidate at Columbia University, join us to discuss their recent works on this subject and debate the role law played in U.S. efforts to reshape the postwar global order. Wertheim’s book, Tomorrow the World: The Birth of U.S. Global Supremacy, discusses intellectual...
Published 10/27/20
Cristina Rodríguez, Professor of Law at Yale Law School, and Adam B. Cox, Professor of Law at NYU, join us to discuss their new book, The President and Immigration Law, where they outline how the Executive Branch gained nearly-unchecked discretion over immigration policy, the implications of this are for the future of immigration policy, and what this system says about the nature of executive power more broadly. Additional readings, including those referenced during the episode, are...
Published 10/20/20
On our third episode, we speak to Steven Teles, Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University and Senior Fellow at the Niskanen Center about his new book, Never Trump: The Revolt of the Conservative Elites, co-authored with Robert P. Saldin. He outlines what he thinks drove “Never Trumpers” (elite conservatives) to campaign against then-candidate Donald Trump and the role this group now plays at the margins of the Republic Party. He also touches on the theories underlying his...
Published 10/13/20
On this episode, we speak to Amy Kapczynski, Professor of Law at Yale Law School, about about her new article in the Yale Law Journal, “Building a Law-and-Political-Economy Framework: Beyond the Twentieth-Century Synthesis,” co-authored with Jedediah Britton-Purdy, David Singh Grewal, and K. Sabeel Rahman. The article outlines how approaches to law that center questions of market efficiency, neutrality, and formal equality render certain forms of power invisible, and “encases” the market from...
Published 10/09/20
With the end of Donald Trump’s presidency potentially imminent, debates have begun about how to reform American politics—and the powers of the executive branch in America’s constitutional system. On this episode, we speak with Jack Goldsmith, professor of law at Harvard University, who recently coauthored After Trump: Reconstructing the Presidency. In this episode, he discusses his vision for reforms that should—and possibly could—be used to reform the presidency after Donald Trump. A leading...
Published 09/30/20